Biosecurity warning for Lunar New Year

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Travellers entering the country for the upcoming Lunar New Year have been urged not to also inadvertently bring a biosecurity risk to Australia.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said many gifts or items brought to the country for the celebration posed major risks to agriculture and the environment.

"Lunar New Year is a special celebration for many people here and overseas, but around this time we see lots of biosecurity-risk items intercepted at the border," Mr Littleproud said.

"These items are brought to Australia by international travellers and found in mail items received at our international mail centres."

Among the items that pose the most risk were meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables, along with plants and herbs used in traditional medicines.

Mr Littleproud said many of the items could bring pests and disease into the country.

"Some popular Lunar New Year gifts contain pork, which could carry African swine fever," he said.

"Fruit can carry invasive pests such as exotic fruit flies and diseases such as citrus cankers. These could seriously impact on our fruit industries."

Fines of up to $2600 could apply, with more serious offences potentially leading to visa cancellation.

Mr Littleproud said people should check what items were permitted in the country before travelling for the celebrations.

"The best way to ensure gifts arrive safely and on time is to check what items may not be permitted into Australia," he said.

The Lunar New Year, the Year of the Tiger, begins on February 1.

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